‘Totally Under Control’ review: New Alex Gibney documentary offers an incisive and infuriating critique of the Trump administration’s inept coronavirus response.

And now, he brings us “Totally Under Control,” an incisive, lucid and infuriating critique of the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic that Gibney co-directed with Ophelia Harutyunyan and Suzanne Hillinger. In the old days of film stock and editing room, we’d say that this timely narrative has arrived “dripping wet.” Indeed, this is such an up-to-the-minute account that the filmmakers were able to add a dismally ironic postscript that, just a day after completing the movie, President Trump himself would be diagnosed with covid-19.

Obeying the meticulous, metronomic rhythms of a classic procedural, “Totally Under Control” takes viewers back to what seems like another age, when a mysterious flu in Wuhan, China, was ravaging that community. Starting with the first known case in Washington state, the pandemic arrives on U.S. shores, and the misjudgments, missed opportunities and scrambled responses begin. Tests are hurriedly prepared but prove faulty, and an easy fix is inexplicably overlooked; the federal government pits states against each other in an obscene bidding war for badly-needed supplies; American citizens are given confusing and contradictory messages about the severity of the disease and the most appropriate ways to fight it; tough lessons learned by the previous administration, which battled its own outbreaks, are abandoned in favor of an ad hoc, often incoherent, reinvention of myriad wheels.

Meanwhile, the fatalities pile up. In addition to creating a concise, tonally understated compendium of damning facts and figures, “Totally Under Control” provides a useful comparison with South Korea, which the filmmakers present in side-by-side scenes: In the United States, people come to blows over whether to wear masks while in Seoul, a rapid-response testing and tracing program keeps outbreaks to a minimum and a complete economic shutdown at bay.

To anyone who has followed the news of the pandemic, “Totally Under Control” doesn’t break much news — although one of its most piquant moments features a grandson of Robert F. Kennedy providing a firsthand description of the shambolic, all-volunteer supply-chain effort overseen by Jared Kushner to procure personal protection equipment. Rick Bright, who recently resigned his post as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, is particularly convincing as the kind of apolitical technocrat that the Trump administration seems singularly threatened by. Taison Bell, a physician at the University of Virginia, delivers moving testimony, not just regarding the devastating effects of covid-19, but its disproportionate effect on communities of color.

Gibney and his team were intent on releasing “Totally Under Control” before the election, although it’s difficult to discern whether it will tip any scales (although it will be hard for Forever Trumpers to ignore mask manufacturer Michael Bowen, whose pleas to the president for whom he voted to ramp up production go unheeded). Matters of objective science and empirical observation have now become so mired in partisanship, authoritarian narrative and conspiracy blather that even a film this judicious and straightforwardly informative feels doomed to reach no further than its own self-selected constituency. Should open-minded viewers decide

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‘Totally Under Control’: a title, definitely not a description of the White House COVID response

These kids weren’t working for the task force. They were the task force. “In the entire time I was a volunteer,” says Kennedy, “our team did not purchase a single mask.”

“Totally Under Control” comes to us from the tireless documentarian Alex Gibney (“Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room,” the Oscar-winning “Taxi to the Dark Side”), here collaborating with Ophelia Harutyunyan and Suzanne Hillinger. Originally scheduled for release in early November, the movie was bumped up to Oct. 13 following the news of President Trump’s COVID-19 infection. You can watch it on demand or via a virtual screening at the Coolidge Corner Theatre, which will be hosting a filmmaker Q&A on Oct. 14.

The movie is enraging, necessary, and above all, useful. The year of our dark lord 2020 has brought so many daily outrages that it has become easy to lose sight of the big picture; exhausted by each new revelation of incompetence and denial, we fall off the back of the truck and let the news roll on without us. By simply reconnecting the dots and reminding us of exactly where failure lies, a movie like this is valuable.

From "Totally Under Control."
From “Totally Under Control.”Neon

Where failure lies, says “Totally Under Control,” is with Donald Trump’s White House. Structured as a straightforward chronology — what the news business calls a tick-tock — the film starts in January of this year, as rumors of a “Wuhan pneumonia” started moving through epidemiological and public health circles. It’s a little shocking how long ago that seems yet how quickly the situation deteriorated: The first US case, in Seattle, appeared on Jan. 20; a day or two later, the president told a reporter at Davos “We have it under control.”

That was nonsense, of course. Created during previous administrations, a playbook called “Crimson Contagion” specifically detailed how to combat just this sort of pandemic; it was ignored. Using an enclosed camera set-up wryly dubbed a “COVID-cam,” the filmmakers interview a series of on-the-ground experts about what went wrong, when, and because of whom. Dr. Rick Bright, the former head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), which handles procurement, talks of a Trump political appointee cutting a program to manufacture N95 masks with the comment “I just don’t see a sense of urgency.”

What becomes palpably clear watching “Totally Under Control” is that a bureaucracy already stacked against rapid response was made infinitely worse by the politicization of the crisis and the gutting of the civil service by the Trump White House. We hear how an Emergency Use Authorization employed to rush out flawed test kits from the CDC then made it impossible to alter those tests so they could be used; lesson learned, Bright later used an EUA to slow down the process when the president demanded the unproven “Trump drug” hydroxychloroquine be made available to the general public.

The filmmakers paint a portrait of an administration of clueless businessmen ignoring the unignorable while the medical and

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Kyrgyzstan: Opposition politician takes over interior ministry, pres. ‘in control’

Kyrgyz opposition politician and former senior security official Kursan Asanov has taken over as acting interior minister, a ministry spokesman said on Tuesday, indicating President Sooronbai Jeenbekov could be losing control over the country.

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Police have been ordered to ensure citizens’ safety and prevent clashes and looting amid protests, the spokesman said, adding that incumbent Interior Minister Kashkar Junushaliyev has not shown up for work on Tuesday.

Kyrgyzstan’s pro-Russian president insisted he was in control of the country Tuesday despite protesters capturing the seat of government and freeing his predecessor and nemesis following violent clashes with police.

Sooronbay Jeenbekov’s office said in a statement that the president was “in control of the situation and expresses confidence that all political forces will put the interests of the country above their own.”

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Last Update: Tuesday, 06 October 2020 KSA 09:01 – GMT 06:01

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What happens in North Carolina has ramifications for control of the White House, Senate and Supreme Court

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — By Sunday morning, less than two days after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the signs were already stapled to telephone poles in this liberal college town. “VOTE!” they read, above an Uncle Sam-style image of the iconic feminist jurist.

Not that voters here needed a reminder of the stakes in this election.

North Carolina, where the changing demographics reflect America as much as the urban-rural divisions mirror its polarization, was already a crucial bellwether. The state is critical to President Trump’s re-election bid, particularly as he has slipped in the industrial Midwest and come under more pressure to retain the rest of his 2016 map.

With competitive races for president, Senate and governor and control of the State Legislature up for grabs, voters are being deluged by advertisements: More money has been spent on television commercials here than in any other state.

And now, Justice Ginsburg’s death has made North Carolina even more important. If Mr. Trump and Senate Republicans try to hastily push through a new justice before or immediately after the election, it could doom three senators in states where they were already trailing, and where Joseph R. Biden Jr. appears well-positioned: Maine, Colorado and Arizona.

That makes North Carolina not just a bellwether but a linchpin, with the fate of Senator Thom Tillis’s re-election campaign a key factor in deciding which party will control the Senate. And Mr. Tillis’s early pronouncement that he would support whomever the president selects to replace Justice Ginsburg underscored the way the future of the White House, the Senate and the Supreme Court have all become entwined with North Carolina politics.

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Lebanon: Aoun Bargains with Interior, Finance Ministries to Keep Control Over Energy

Lebanese President Michel Aoun is responsible for the delay in the formation of the new government, Lebanese political sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The president’s first priority, according to the sources, is to bring back his son-in-law, former Minister and MP Gebran Bassil, to the forefront, and to reserve the largest number of ministerial seats for his Christian bloc, including the ministry of Energy.

The political sources revealed that the General Security chief, Major General Abbas Ibrahim, has been working behind the scene to resolve the nodes that are hindering the cabinet formation. Ibrahim has recently met with Aoun, who informed him that he favored a government of 24 specialists of political background, “to facilitate the implementation of reforms.”

According to the sources, Aoun supports, in one way or another, Bassil’s request to implement rotation in the redistribution of portfolios to the different sects. They said he suggested that the financial and the interior ministries be the share of the Christians, in exchange for assigning the defense and foreign ministries to the Muslims.

The same sources explained that Aoun wanted to convey a message that the Shiites’ insistence on preserving the finance portfolio – which grants them the authority to sign the decrees of a financial nature – does not give them the right to veto the redistribution of ministerial portfolios.

In other words, Aoun – according to these sources – absolutely refuses any party to use the right of veto to prevent the allocation of the ministry of Energy to a Christian minister. The president considers the energy as an exclusive right to his political party, led by Bassil.

Therefore, the sources said Aoun was bargaining with the Interior and Finance ministries, in exchange for maintaining the energy within his share.

Moreover, the president’s insistence on forming an expanded government was aimed at bringing Bassil to the forefront, in light of the rejection of the Lebanese Forces and the Kataeb party to participate in the government, according to the sources.

However, Prime Minister-designate Mustapha Adib would not approve a cabinet of 24 ministers and insisted on excluding Bassil from his ongoing talks with Aoun.

Adib is also working to prepare a draft ministerial lineup that he would present to the Baabda Palace at the end of this week.

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Five Easy Home Remedies To Combat Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Under Control

Home Remedies for PCOS: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is quite common these days, it is a condition where women develop small cysts in their ovaries. PCOS is not really a harmful condition, but it can lead to many hormonal changes in women. To cure the condition or to keep it under control, women often make lifestyle changes by either cleaning up their diets, adding exercise to their routine, or taking medications. But what if there are home remedies to keep a tab on the condition? Also Read – Benefits of Ginger in COVID-19: Fight Lung Infection By Adding Ginger in Kadha or Tea

We have got the list of tried-and-tested kitchen ingredients which will help you keep PCOS under control. Just add them to your daily diet and let them cure you. Also Read – Benefits of Cinnamon in COVID-19: How it Fights Lung Infections And Boosts Immunity

  1. Methi Dana or Fenugreek

It is one of the potent remedies to get PCOS under control. Fenugreek has properties that can reduce cyst size and facilitate the consumption of normal menstrual cycle in women suffering from PCOS. Also Read – This Rare Indian Mushroom Costs Rs 30,000 Per Kg And is Grown in The Himalayas – Know Everything

How to have it- Soak the Fenugreek overnight or for 5-6 hours in water and have it thrice a day. If not, one can also try cooked methi leaves.

  1. Cinnamon and Honey

Research has proven that cinnamon can help in regulating the menstrual cycle and is an effective treatment for PCOS.

How to have it: 1 teaspoon Cinnamon and 1 teaspoon Honey, combine the two-ingredient and ingest it. Have this once every day.

  1. Flaxseeds

These seeds are rich in fibre, omega 3, omega 6 fatty acids and lignans, it is a protein which helps in reducing the testosterone in women’s body.

How to have it: Have it with water or add it to your breakfast.

  1. Bitter Gourd

This veggie brings insulin and glucose level under check. Karela or Bitter Gourd also helps in weight loss.

How to have it: Beat the Karela and have it in the form of a juice or eat it as a veggie (sabzi) with a chappati.

  1. Amla

This fruit is rich in Vitamin C and has antioxidants which not just control blood sugar levels but also improve fertility in women.

How to have it: Have it in the form of juice or consume it with a yogurt

It worked for us, let us know if it works for you?

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Attracting Natural Insect Predators to Control Garden Pests

In the world of animals, there are carnivores (predators) and herbivores. The carnivores are meat eating, and feed on the herbivores. The same happens in the insect world, and we can use this strategy to naturally control pests in our vegetable gardens. Insect predators eat other insects.

What are Beneficial Insect Predators?

Examples of beneficial insect predators that feed on crop pests include ladybugs, lacewing bugs, spiders, wasps, certain mites, damsel bugs and many others. There are ways of attracting these insect predators to our gardens.

One of these is to create an insectary by using a diverse range of predator attracting plants.The garden insectary is a type of “companion planting”. By planting a wide range of plants you can provide alternative food sources (such as nectar and pollen, required by many predators as part of their diet) as well as habitat and shelter. For example, you can control aphids by attracting an aphid-specific predator such as Aphidius by planting lupins or sunflowers. Your insectary only needs to be big enough to hold six to seven varieties of plants that attract insects. Once these plants have matured, your beneficial insects will efficiently take over the insect pest control in your vegetable and fruit garden for you.

Tips for Setting up Your Insectary

  1. Members of the carrot family (wild carrot, dill, coriander, fennel and angelica) are all excellent insectary plants. They all produce tiny flowers which are required by parasitoid wasps. Large nectar-filled flowers can drown these tiny parasitoid wasps.
  2. Grow plants of various heights in your insectary: lace wings lay their eggs in protected, shady areas. Ground beetles like the cover from low growing plants such as mint, thyme or rosemary
  3. Flowers such as daisies and mint-like plants such as peppermint, spearmint etc will attract robber flies, hover flies and predatory wasps.
  4. Plant insectary annuals between your vegetable beds. This will lure beneficial insects as well as adding a touch of decoration to your garden.
  5. Let some of your vegetables grow to flower (carrots, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, bok choy etc).

Other Great Insectary Plants

Good insectary plants not already mentioned include the following:

  • Alyssum
  • Amaranthus
  • Convolvulus
  • Cosmos
  • Daucus carota (Queen Anne’s Lace)
  • Digitalis
  • Limonium (Statice)
  • Lemon balm
  • Parsley
  • Peonies
  • Verbascum thaspus

A garden insectary should be a permanent component of all gardens. The longer your insectary is in place, the more effective it will be as insects get to know a place that provides food, shelter and above all, a source of nearby food. Results are cumulative. As your plantings mature and resident populations of beneficial insects are established, the need for toxic chemical pesticides will diminish. Your garden will become a more natural and balanced environment for the production of healthy vegetables and flowers.…

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